The captain of the ship that ran aground in the area of Eden Rock was not properly served with a summons to appear in court, Magistrate Grace Donalds ruled at a court hearing. Her ruling was made public on Monday.
The company that manages the vessel, Novus Shipping OU, was also invalidly served a summons, the court heard. However, a third party in the case, Risley Ltd., which is the owner of the 328-foot container vessel Saga, was properly served its summons.
The Saga is alleged to have “directly or indirectly, cut, carved, injured, displaced or broke underwater coral, plant growth or formation … without authority” on Nov. 25, 2016.
Charges were laid against Risley, the ship’s captain Oleksander Marchenko, and Novus Shipping OU.
On Monday, attorney James Austin-Smith, who had acted for all three defendants, said the Crown intends to proceed against Risley, saying it is in the public interest to do so.
The Crown is also seeking a warrant for Captain Marchenko.
Mr. Austin-Smith noted that the captain lives in a “non-extradition country.” Court papers list his address as in Odessa, Ukraine.
In her ruling, the magistrate noted that he was employed by Novus, which is registered in Estonia. Risley is registered in Seychelles.
The charges were laid on May 2, 2017.
The matter first came to court in October 2017 and legal arguments followed, with Crown counsel Eleanor Fargin prosecuting.
All three defendants argued that the summonses were not validly served and the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The court ruled that the captain had not been validly served with the summons; that the employer of the captain did not appear to have been validly served, since no undertaking had been given by a local firm to accept the summons on behalf of that company; and that the summons was validly served on the owner of the ship.
Mr. Austin-Smith requested another date so that he and Ms. Fargin could consider their next steps.
The magistrate set the matter for mention again on Friday, April 6.